Chapter 26: Chapter 26: Retreating
They were back to square one, in fact probably worse off given the wolves anger, they were even less likely to let them leave now. Other than slightly frustrated however, John and his group werent actually too disheartened by their failure as though it happened all the time.
“Dammit such a good chance wasted!” Fen thundered as he lowered his bow. He never did get much chances at killing strong monsters especially frost wolves, so he was the most annoyed.
“Back to plan A boys, we defend and move back from where we came.” On Johns orders they reformed their defensive formation, with Fen and Jack at the back and John and Thorin at the front facing down the angry wolves.
“Move out!” They once again started to slowly move backwards with their weapons drawn in preparation for the next attack.
In some ways the wolves being angrier and more aggressive would work in their favour. Their attacks would be simple and more reliant on brute force than sneaky ambushes plus a lot of their aggression will be aimed at John who is the best equipped defence wise.
As expected, the wolves werent just going to let them go. The injured one kept to the back while the rest quickly dashed after them occasionally lunging and biting at John or Thorin. Whenever the pressure on John became too much Fen would fire off some arrows and Thorin would take his place to give him a breather.
They continued to retreat and be attacked for the next hour or so, really testing the limits of their endurance. John and Thorin sported multiple cuts all over their bodies and Fen had long run out of arrows. Jacks iron dagger had actually snapped at one point when he slashed at a frost wolfs hind leg.
Luckily, he had his spare steel dagger but struggled to use it in fear of it getting damaged. He was the only one with a steel weapon and he treasured it very much but now wasnt the time to be stingy.
Jacks other job was to make sure of the path they were heading in was the one in which they came. Which in the deep snow and confusing terrain wasnt easy in regular times let alone when being attacked by multiple frost wolves.
On the other hand, the wolves werent doing much better, they also had deep cuts and were clearly running out of stamina, one had a few ribs broken whereas another had a piece of iron dagger lodged in its leg. It could be considered a stalemate at this point in time, the wolves even lost most of their anger and were more filled with trepidation and dread. At this point they were wearily watching the group without attacking.
All seemed to be in the adventurers favour, the frost wolves should give up soon and theyd be out of danger but suddenly.
“Pgyaaah” A loud squeal was heard from behind them causing not only the adventurers to turn and look but also the frost wolves.
The ground trembled as six large boars appeared, each with massive white tusks and huge frames built for charging.
“W...w...winter boars,” Thorin said as he gasped for air. They were truly exhausted and couldnt fight goblins let alone winter boars. If frost wolves were about agility and attack then winter boars were the opposite, they were only quick when charging in a straight line and their tough hides could take a large beating before any real damage could be done. To put it simply they were the worst kind of opponents for them in their exhausted state. Too tired to dodge their charges and too weak to put any strength in their swings.
Their current formation would only work with four frost wolves but would quickly crumble against winter boars. Depression quickly sunk in, the adventurers knew that they could no longer win this fight, it was a lost cause, they wouldnt even be able run let alone stand against them. Images of their loved ones filled their minds as they faced certain death, tears started to flow from their eyes as they laughed pitifully. Even John was no exception, they were doomed.
“Its been an honour brothers.” John spoke quietly but his friends heard every word, feeling as though they were struck by a hammer. The tears grew more and more fervent as they stared at one another.
“To die with ones brothers, theres worse ways to go.” Thorin smiled wildly and shook his head.
“Haaaaa goodbye Sarah looks like I wont make it back.” Jack sighed as he said goodbye to his girlfriend.
“Ah dammit I knew I should have asked Emma out regardless of the consequences.” Fen lamented his cowardice to ask out Jacks sister resulting in him receiving a death glare.
Even though their death was assured and closing in on them the atmosphere around them was rather jovial. They werent afraid and will face their next life together.
Unbeknownst to them however the frost wolves didnt look much better as if theyd come across their arch enemies at their weakest points. If John and the rest noticed theyd see panic in the wolves eyes and their bodies slightly trembling.
Wolves and boars do not get along, even among monsters theres a strong repulsion between them. Wolves hunt and kill boars as prey whereas boars are strong enough to kill wolves if they have the numbers, its not a strict prey and predator relationship due the boars strength.
Now that the boars had superior numbers and the frost wolves were exhausted and injured why wouldnt they feel afraid. It was an instinctual and primal fear that filled them, completely eclipsing their attention on the adventurers. At this point the wolves had entirely forgotten about them as they stared at the winter boars in the distance.
John and his group patiently waited for their deaths, hoping to at least take some down with them but nothing happened. The boars and wolves werent even looking in their direction, as if they were invisible. John couldnt help but feel a twang of anger in his heart at their dismissal but that only lasted a second before he realised the situation.
How could I forget, just because theyre monsters doesnt mean theyd work together. Due to the panic from being besieged on two sides he failed to recall this fact. Once he realised, his mind quickly got to work on an escape plan. Quickly grabbing the shoulders of his friends, he silently whispered the situation trying not to draw any attention. The group quickly stopped crying and became stern, they had been given a second chance and needed to grasp it tightly if they wished to live.
Like a well-oiled machine the group swiftly got to work. They crouched down silently and moved away from the two groups of monsters without so much as a peep.
Only when they had travelled for another hour did they stand up straight and dare to breathe fully.
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They had succeeded, they were safe from danger... for now.
About 10 minutes or so after they left when the tension was at its highest and the winter boars were about to ruthlessly charge at the wolves intending to trample them to death Maya appeared between them and released as strong killing intent.
“Back off!” She shouted before glaring at the two parties.
“Awoooo!” Almost instantly both parties screamed in fear and ran in opposing directions.
Maya sighed and shook her head before teleporting back to the private space.
“Good, I didnt think the animosity between them would be so bad, especially since theyre technically under my control.” Frost had found out just a few hours into the second day that some of his monsters didnt exactly get along. The resentment between the frost wolves and winter boars was rather strong, a few times either he or Maya had to step in before any of them was injured.
Luckily given enough time the dungeons ambient mana would heal most of their injuries but its better to not have them in the first place. It was rather unusual as the wolves or the boars didnt have any problem hanging out with either the goblins, slimes, or owls. They werent too keen on the foxes but not to the same extent. Unfortunately, the combination of frost wolves and winter boars were the ideal strength he wished to convey to the group of adventurers, otherwise he would never have used the two of them.
Their territories were normally at the polar ends of the section so as to avoid confrontation. They only grouped together under Frosts orders thus leading to this situation of them facing off against one another instead of the intruding adventurers.
“You may have summoned them, but they still have their own free will and personalities to an extent. Even Dark God-sama cant completely control his creations so, how could you” Maya blatantly responded in a rather patronising tone.
Frost felt that he just received an invisible slap to his ego.
“Good point,” he sighed and shook his head as he agreed with her.
“Well, it worked out somehow. The adventurers have now retreated with some minor injuries and a decent amount of information to make this dungeon a prime hunting ground.” All in all, Frost felt that hed done a good job and that theyd achieved the desired objective.
An almost D-rank party managed to enter the dungeon for almost an entire day and make it back with only a few injuries and thats when unprepared. The dungeon should be able to handle multiple parties of similar strength without too much strain and if a stronger one does show up theres always the polar bear in the final section.
The polar bear was another difficult monster, it refused to allow any other monster into its room whether thats goblins, dwarves, or even the frost wolves it would roar at them before charging straight for them. Even when Frost went to visit it, it clearly wasnt that happy. Frost didnt know if it was due to it being a bear and D-rank or if it was simply antisocial as an individual but as long as it guarded the core room, he could let it behave however it wished.
“Guess now we just try to milk them for some DP as they try to leave.” Currently the group were running as fast as they could to put some distance between them and the wolves however, they still needed to find their way out, all without dying. Theyd need to at least make a short stop in order to attend to their injuries and then find their bases before setting out. Frost was confident that he could have them reach the 24 hour mark in the dungeon giving a nice round numbered income.
“Tea” Maya asked as she gracefully meandered over to the kitchen to fill the kettle.
“Yes please,” unlike the adventurers who were in dire straits Frost and Maya were having a great time sitting back and relaxing as they watched the situation from the comfort of their lounge, almost as if they were watching a movie or playing a video game.
Meanwhile across the snowy plains the group of adventurers were fleeing with everything they had leaving drops of blood as they went. They didnt stop running for at least an hour.
Sounds of banging and crashing ensued when all four of them collapsed into the snow from exhaustion, desperately clawing for each breath. They ran to their very limits not even hesitating to stop until they felt the tension of death relax.
The group panted and heaved for a good couple minutes before regaining the ability to stand up and move. The group didnt say anything to each other as they quickly looked around for some form of shelter. At the moment they looked terrible, bloodstains all over their clothes, cuts and bruises covering their bodies and severely damaged equipment.
Johns shield was barely holding itself together with half of it missing. All of their leather amour had various claw and teeth marks greatly reducing its effectiveness. Most of their weapons were blunted or chipped, Fen was out of arrows and one of Jacks daggers had completely broken and was still lodged in one of the frost wolves. They were not in the best of states, in fact if they didnt see to their injuries it could prove fatal, thats why they moved into action without orders or hesitation. They werent out of danger yet.